Welcome back to another travel blog. I love writing these and I love to read other people’s too. Before I head to somewhere new I always search for travel blogs as I think these give off some really great ideas and insights in to places that maybe travel guides and websites don’t.
I recently went to Dublin on a 3 day city break with my husband. I booked this for him as a birthday surprise as he had always wanted to go to the Guinness Storehouse, so I thought why not turn it in to a nice getaway.
We flew from Liverpool Airport with Ryan Air on the shortest flight I’ve ever been on, 35minutes. If you search in advance then your plane ticket will be super cheap, you can get there for as little as £9.99. It did keep making me think why I hadn’t done this before.
My go to website for booking city break hotels is usually Booking.com as they have so many options, and you can filter them all down to cost, location and facilities. I love as well that they give you the option of reserving the room and then paying on Arrival/Check Out. I found the Albany House Hotel on here and it was located on a lovely Georgian street; Harcourt Street, that was in a very nice area, close to bars, restaurants and the main shopping street of Dublin, Grafton Street.
Top Tips for arriving in Dublin
Airlink – ask at the airport which Airlink bus you can get on to get to the City Centre. There are 2 buses that run at slightly different routes. This is a very cheap way of getting to your hotel, and the timetables are very regular. Like any form of transport though, it’s obviously not a fast service during rush hour, so leave plenty of time to get through the traffic to get to the airport.
Freedom Pass – If you’re staying for a few days and are thinking of getting the Airlink and the city bus tour, then consider getting the Freedom Pass. You can pick this up at the airport and it will cover you for 3 days on the Airlink, Hop On Hop Off Bus, local buses and free entry in to a few other tours/attractions. For 33Euro’s it is worth it.
Day 1 – What To Do on a rainy day in Dublin?
We arrived and it was a wet and grey day, and we arrived pretty early so we had the full day to explore. Ask a Dubliner what to do on a rainy day and the answer will be “Drink!” This is genuine, we asked 2 different people and they suggested just going to the pub. Maybe for some, but not for us at 11am.
We headed to find the Hop On Hop Off, the stop closest to Harcourt Street is on Dawson St, about a 10minute walk away. Sadly no top deck tourism that day, but it meant we could get a full tour of the city from a dry spot and decide where we wanted to explore.
Kilmainham Jail was the chosen spot for day 1. Honestly guys, it is a must see if you head to Dublin. It is steeped in history and it is exactly like it was when it was a working prison. The stories those walls must hold!
Our tour guide Anne was brilliant. I absolutely loved hearing the history of the Easter Rising and the Irish Rebellion, as Kilmainham played a big part in housing the rebels and even executing the ring leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising.
On a grey, windy and cold day, it was so eerie to wander round and actually added to the tour.
Pre Book your tour before visiting the jail. It books up pretty quick. Only 9Euros PP (8Euro Online). Tour lasts 1 hour, then there is a museum.
An Evening in at O’Donoghue’s
In the evening after grabbing a bite to eat we headed out to find some real Irish pubs, you know the kind, an old guys boozer with pints everywhere, tiny rooms and people in the corner playing banjo and singing Irish songs. Don’t be fooled by the bars and pubs with all the flags and bunting outside, these are not traditional places. In the end we found the gem that is O’Donoghue’s. We enjoyed a really good few hours in here chatting and singing along to the songs being played.
If you have heard of the Irish band The Dubliners, then these guys have played here many a time, so it is quite a well known pub famed with locals and tourists.
After a few pints (drank by the hubs) it was time to head back to the hotel and relax.
It was easy to relax in this super large & cosy room. Thanks for giving us a fab room Albany House.
Day 2 – A mixture of Guinness and History.
We were top deck tourists on Day 2!
We started off the day at The Guinness Storehouse. I really didn’t know what to make of this tour, as I don’t like Guinness and I know it is a tourist hot spot, but it turned out to be a fantastic few hours. Seeing the way the beer is brewed and hearing the history of how Arthur Guinness set up the brewery and believed in it that much that he signed a 9000 year lease was really fascinating.
If you want to see me taking my first sip of Guinness then head to my hubby’s instagram @steviejmilton
This part of the tour was really fun, you get to pour your own pint and learn how to do it the proper way.
Getting to end the tour in the 360 Bar above the storehouse is great as you get full panoramic views of the city and to the mountains.
Book the tour online and save some money. We were there for about 3 hours and thought it was completely worth the money.
There’s always time for coffee and cake in between exploring.
We then headed to Dublin Castle and took the full guided tour here. Again, I loved learning the history of the building and how the more modern castle was built on the ground of the original viking fortress. You can do your own self guided tour but this won’t get you in to the Undercroft or the Chapel Royal, and both of these are pretty cool. The State Apartments are very regal, and parts of the castle are now used as exhibition spaces.
Dublin Castle is now used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. When Queen Elizabeth II made her visit to Ireland in 2011 (the first by a British Monarch in 100 years) she visited here, this room to be exact.
Temple Bar Area
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed out to a bar in the Temple Bar area. We went to The Temple Bar and it was great – a great atmosphere and great stories about the pub from over the years. But you will PAY for drinks, and I mean pay, it was 15euro for a pint and a rose. This is how it is in Dublin, give or take a few euros, but it is a pricey city.
Day 3 – Strolling Round the City
We spent our final day just walking everywhere. We were staying so close to St Stephen’s Green so we headed there first for a nice park stroll.
Coming out of St Stephen’s Green we headed straight down Dawson Street and walked through the university grounds of Trinity College. The grounds are steeped in history and famous authors Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett studied here. If I get to head back to Dublin then I’ll be going back here to see The Book of Kells.
So close to here is the Molly Malone statue, which is another great piece of Dublin history. She’s a famous gal to Dubliners, and there is no solid evidence that a Molly Malone really existed and was a fish monger. Either way, people love her, and the song written about her.
We didn’t want to leave without taking a final stroll along the River Liffey and crossing over a few of the bridges to see both sides of the city. Be sure to walk along the busy O’Connell Street, it is home to the General Post Office, a famous spot from the Easter Rising Rebellion and the bullet marks can still be seen in the pillars on the outside of the building, so the stories say, they’re either bullet holes or erosion. Pretty cool though.
The last few tips for you guys are – for shopping head to Grafton Street, Henry Street and O’Connell Street. Grafton St and roads around it is the best though, it has everything from high street to designer. If you’re on a budget break, for a cheap lunch head in to the Spar’s that are dotted around, they have a good hot food selection. For a good hotel location narrow your search to the Grafton Street/St Stephen’s Green area.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, I’m sorry it’s been a bit of a long one but I did have a lot to fit in and tell you about. Everything that we managed to do was on a budget and we still fitted lots in, without completely tiring ourselves out.
Let me know if you liked this post, and if you think it is helpful. If you’ve been to Dublin before and done different bits to what we did then please comment below and tell me some other fab things to do, as I’d love to head back there.